The spirit of not-quite-Christmas

We picked a great weekend to head down to DC to visit family and do a little early Christmas. And by great I mean holy hell, there is a crapload of snow out there and if we're lucky, we might make it back to New York by tomorrow if I put down the computer and we leave this very second.

When I first heard word on Twitter of DC folks tapping out the eggs and bread and toilet paper from the local shops I rolled my eyes. Oh, these provincials. But when it came down to it, it was my nieces who appeared ready at the door in snowsuits and heavy boots, hats and scarves and probably some sort of newfangled child-insulation technology straight out of the labs of NASA. My girls? Jeans. Cotton scarves. Knit mittens. And boots...or at least they would have been in boots had I not lost them somewhere between the front door and the snow storm.

Good thing my children are impervious to cold for the first 30 seconds.

The day was built around this early Christmas, and this year we decided we'd limit gifts to something small for each kid and skip the adults. It was a far cry from the insane giftapaloozas of past years, in which the kids became so overwhelmed by, oh, present number three (let alone 27) and their 60-ton stockings, that Thalia would slink off to play with some ribbon by herself in a corner before melting into a pile of overstimulated, quivering nothingness.

(The one exception was the pair of child's scissors she got in her stocking when she was three, which turned out to trump even the tricycle that year)

So yesterday, presents--far fewer presents--were exchanged, cheers were shouted, gift books were read, candy canes were devoured, stickers were fought over. You know, Christmas. Only smaller.

A funny thing happened last night though. As I tucked the four girls into bed and asked them their favorite thing about the day, they answered Candy canes. Drinking hot chocolate. Singing Jingle Bell Rock together. Licking the snow. Using crazy straws in the milk.

The blockbuster new horror series of the holiday season: Straw, and Straw II

Either the spirit of Christmas really isn't about presents like Boris Karloff has been telling all these years, or we just got them really crappy gifts.


Anonymous Motherhood Uncensored said...

It never fails. One year I'll actually learn and just get them cardboard boxes, rolls of tape and a bag of marshmallows.

12/20/09, 9:01 AM  
Blogger Lozzie Cap said...

~Homer Simpson voice~ Craaaaaaaaaaaaazy Straaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaws ..!

Nothing reminds me of my Californian childhood quite like the mention of crazy Straws, for some unknown reason. In those days, they even had their very own special smell, though of course that may have been down to some less-than-efficient cleaning practices.

*Sigh* Thanks for the memory.

Sincerely hope you make it (or by now have made it) home safely.

12/20/09, 10:08 AM  
Blogger StarsandRobots said...

"straw" & "straw 2", hysterical! I see the bangs are coming along! I used to do Christmas in DC, so pretty! Hope it was as nice as it sounded! :) Gotta love it when the kids surprise you with their awesomeness like that, raised em right!

12/20/09, 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Jen Singer said...

Loved this one. You could have gotten all schmaltzy, but never, ever at Mom-101.

I wonder how long all that bread will last them in DC.

12/20/09, 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Kami Lewis Levin said...

My kids favorite Hanukkah presents this year were Hot Wheels cars ($1.95 each) and, uh, wrapping paper. Straight up. Which, it turns out, when stacked correctly, can make a very beautiful castle.

And, to echo Motherhood Uncensored, marshmallows were a big hit here too.

12/20/09, 1:55 PM  
Blogger LazyMom said...

It is always the case. Super expensive wood crafted toys are tossed aside for the dollar store stocking stuffer.

12/20/09, 4:28 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

Note to self. Buy marshmallows. Good luck on the trip home!

12/20/09, 4:52 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Cool straws! I barely even noticed Thalia's bangs... ;-)

12/20/09, 5:01 PM  
Blogger thecostofliving said...

My 19-month-old son's favorite gift so far was a gift bag. "Bag! Mama, bag! Brammy have bag!"

12/20/09, 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. I love thinking of simple Christmases past. Must pick up marshmallows AND crazy straws...

12/20/09, 10:49 PM  
Blogger lonek8 said...

what a wonderful reminder of the true value of Christmas. Thinking back, I don't really remember a single specific gift I've ever gotten for Christmas - but I do remember fondly the family moments and fun we always had. I'm hoping that my children's favorite things about the holidays this year are the family that is coming from all around the country to visit them. And of course, candy canes, marshmallows and all that good stuff too. Merry Christmas!

12/20/09, 11:31 PM  
Blogger J at www.jellyjules.com said...

SO true on the things they remember. And enjoy. And really, it's the same for us. I'm happier with the memories of fun than with things. I like things. I just like fun more.

One year, my daughter REALLY wanted a flashlight of her own. Love that. My coworker got her one that could charge in the socket, so we didn't have to go through tons of batteries as she ran them down.

12/21/09, 12:35 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

My SIL was worried that she hadn't gotten her almost-1yo much for Christmas yet, and I told her to fill a box with tissue paper and put it under the tree. I guarantee it will be the biggest hit of the day.

And, enjoy it while you can. Now that mine are old enough to compare notes with friends, I spend far too much time explaining why they will not be getting a DS this Christmas. Or ever.

But, twisty straws? Those are always a hit! Always.

12/21/09, 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Desiree said...

Straw and Straw II. ROTFLOL!

12/22/09, 3:19 PM  
Blogger Mahlers On Safari said...

Very sweet. It sounds like the perfect early Xmas in DC!

12/24/09, 2:04 PM  

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